The Riverhead Town Board appointed Joann Waski of Jamesport as both a member and acting chairperson of the town Planning Board at its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16.
Ms. Waski is the owner of Peconic Abstract, a family-owned title company in Riverhead.
She has also been a member of the board of directors of Heidi’s Helping Angels and is a former member and vice chair of the Riverhead Republican Committee, but is no longer on the committee.
She will replace Planning Board member and current chairman Stan Carey, who is retiring effective Nov. 18. He also is retiring from his job as superintendent of the Massapequa Water District. Officials said Ms. Waski has been appointed to serve the remainder of Mr. Carey’s term, but the resolution approved Tuesday does not state that and may need to be redone.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” Ms. Waski said of her appointment. “I’m a lifelong resident of Riverhead, born and raised in Aquebogue. I currently reside with my family in Jamesport. The town is very important to me. I know the majority of the members on the current Planning Board and I think it would be a pleasure to work with them.”
Ms. Waski said her work in the title business is similar to what the Planning Board does in some areas.
“I’m very familiar with real estate and zoning and farmland preservation. It’s kind of in my blood,” she said. “This has been a family business since 1983, that my father began. So I’ve always been involved in real estate and I understand what it takes to the integrity of the land. It’s something that mixes very well with being on the Planning Board. Being able to read surveys and knowing different zoning laws. It kind of all intertwines. It’s not like I just came off the street and said, ‘Let me be on the Planning Board.’ It’s something I gave a lot of thought to over the years. I believe I will be an asset.”
Supervisor Yvette Aguiar echoed those comments, saying, “She’s very familiar with plans, real estate and property acquisition, and she will be an asset with the Planning Board and the town.”
The appointment is only for one year, she added, and there was support on the board to appoint Ms. Waski.
Knowing Joann for a long time and knowing her knowledge of land-use and title work and her love of the Town of Riverhead, I vote yes,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said.
“It was my understanding that we were going to give people time to submit letters of interest and resumes,” said Councilwoman Catherine Kent, who was disappointed that this was not the case.
“I have no problem with this applicant but I am always seeking a more open process for these kind of appointments,” Ms. Kent said Tuesday. “So I vote no.” Hers was the lone “no” vote.
“We had an open process,” Ms. Aguiar said. “A process we normally don’t use, where we opened it up for resumes and left it open for 10 days. That’s usually not the case and it’s not required.”